As my “Trek-Mates” were following a different route and there was now only myself and one of the porter/guides (Shambhu) I was no longer constrained so we arose early, a cup of black coffee and were trekking before 7, first stop was back at Dhugla for breakfast, then Pheriche for tea, Pangboche for lunch, Debouche for more tea and finally Lausassa for our overnight stay. Then the next day trekked back down to Namche Bazaar for our breakfast, and then to Benkar and The Waterfall Lodge. Then after a leisurely breakfast we continued on down towards Lukla. It is only a ½ days trekking from Benkar to Lukla I was awake before Shambhu knocked so got up and had a coffee before we walked down to the airport. At 06.45 the first plane to land was Agni Air and we had to run to get on board ½ an hour later we were once more back in Kathmandu
As this is quite a long days trekking I was up before 6am, cup of black coffee and Tej (Cook/Guide) were trekking by 06.30. The trail undulates steadily up, mainly on top of the Khumbu Glacier, often with excellent views ahead of the Upper Khumba valley. After about 2 hours we arrived at Gorak Shep and took breakfast before continuing on to EBC. The trail is quite good, undulating on and off the glacier and eventually along a sharp ridge to the left of the glacier before it drops steeply down into Base camp. One myth that can be dispelled is that when you trek to EBC that you don’t see Everest, well you get a good view of Everest poking its head over Lhotse and Nuptse from the sharp ridge before dropping off it. Base Camp its self was very quiet and I only saw a few Nepali’s getting things ready for the coming season, we had a good wander around and took lots of photos of The Khumba icefall before returning the same way as we came, stopping at Gorak Shep for a late lunch and getting back to Lobuje around 4pm
Another Very short days trekking but with no alternatives, Very Steeply up at first onto the edge of the Khumbu Glacier – Here you come across scores of memorial cairns commemorating climbers and Sherpa’s that have died on the mountains. The path then slowly climbs along the left hand side of the glacier to Lobuje, a large cluster of teahouses with several options for accommodation. I had decided to stay two nights here and trek to EBC in the day between (On my previous visit I had been up Kala Patter, so didn’t feel the urge to go up again, but instead trek to EBC which was something I hadn’t done) - this was mainly to save sleeping at Gorak Shep which is around 5200m and therefore now conducive with a good night’s sleep, this also saved me packing my rucksack including the now dreaded job of battling my down sleeping bag into its compression bag ;-)
A Very short days trekking from Pheriche to Dhugla, but as we had pushed on a bit the day before we thought it made good sense just to trek a short day to stay well within the AMS height gain guidelines. The path is again a good one, at first you trek up through the valley with some awesome mountains towering above you, then at a small summer yak headers settlement the path swings 90 degrees right and you start to climb towards the Khumbu Glacier, just before reaching the terminal moraine you swing left and cross a small stream and enter Dhugla which is just a small cluster of lodges.
The path from Debouche first contours around through mire forest before you again cross the Dhud Kosi, this used to be on a very famous little suspension bridge which is the subject of many paintings (I am sure you will have seen these fir sale in Thamel) Although the old bridge is still there, there is now a new metal box bridge above it, more practical if now quite as photogenic. After crossing the bridge you slowly climb up and through Pangboche (If you aren’t pre-acclimatised this is a good place to split the day), then through Shomme where there are more lodges and restaurants, soon after here the trail splits and we took the left-hand fork, up and over a small shoulder and into Pheriche.
Most trekkers head for Tengboche after Namche Bazaar but to me Debouche offers a better alternative as it is slightly lower and isn’t plagued with the same amount of large groups that usually opt to stay in Tengboche. It is about a20 minutes downhill trek from Tengboche and has a couple of nice lodges. The path from Namche Bazaar is excellent; first you contour around a shoulder, which affords you excellent views of Ama Dablam and the Upper Khumbu with occasional glimpses of Everest poking its head above the lesser peeks. Then you drop down to cross the Dhud Kosi before the steep pull up through forest to Tengboche and then down, again through forest to Debouche. Several teahouses and lodges in small villages en-route so no problems with tea, lunch and snack breaks.
The “Rest” part of my Acclimatisation and Rest day in Namche Bazaar was an early morning hike to “The Panorama Hotel” which afforded us with our first really good view of Everest, but this little walk also helps aid the acclimatisation process as The Panorama Hotel is higher than Debouche which we were planning to trek to the following day. The Rest part of the day was spent in the bakeries eating all sorts of delicacies that we had missed during the early part of the trek, Chocolate Cake and Good Fresh Coffee being the more memorable items.
Trek Day 2 of our EBC trek was another wonderful days trekking, soon after Ghat I stopped off at Benkar and visited The Waterfall Lodge, I had stayed here in 1998 From Benkar it is only a short walk to Monjo where you enter Sagarmatha National Park, you have to show your TIMS permit and either show or buy your National Park entrance ticket. after entering the park you drop right down to the banks of the Dhud Kosi then criss-cross it several times passing through several small villages before reaching Jorsale the last village before the steep pull up to Namche Bazaar where there is another TIMS / National Park Permit Checkpoint. After leaving Jorsale you cross the Dhud Kosi a further two times, the last time being on a long high suspension bridge and then it is steeply up through forest to Namche Bazaar. There is a Porters Resting place and the foundations of an old teahouse, from here you get your first glimpse of Everest. On entering lower Namche Bazaar there is yet another TIMS Permit Checkpoint.
This was the 11th day of our Arun Valley Trek (But I have renamed it The Everest Base Camp as by far the majority of trekkers that will view these clips will be trekking EBC) from Paiya to Ghat (2500M) The first thing we noticed after joining the main Jiri – EBC path was the amount of trekkers – On the Arun Valley section we didn’t meet another trekker for the first 5 days (Two Americans heading the other way) – Definitely not the case now !! The trail is wide and plenty of villages, all with lodges and teahouses, so lots of choices for both food and accommodation – The route is on the east side of the Dhud Kosi but high above the river, undulating up and down as it crosses the many tributaries. We split the distance between Paiya and Namche Bazaar more or less in half by opting to stay at Ghat, a great days trekking on good paths which at first undulate high above the Dhud Kosi as you pass beneath Lukla then drop down after the path comes in from Lukla.
Day 10 of the Arun Valley Trek from Pangom to Paiya (2730M) was the final days trekking before joining the main route from Jiri – Downhill at first and then up and over Kari La (3145m) – There is a small teahouse on the top of the pass where we took lunch – Then downhill, quite steeply in the end to where the Arun Valley path joins the route from Jiri just before Paiya. Paiya is a nice village overlooking a small tributary of the Dhud Kosi. We chose “The Beehive Lodge” which can only be described as delightful – Here I took my first proper hot shower since leaving Kathmandu (100NPR and worth every rupee) – OK – I Really needed it ;-)
Day 9 of the Arun Valley Trek from the little lodge overlooking The Imukhu Khola to Pangom (3850M) was yet another wonderful days trekking, very steeply up at first, narrow path through forest but sometime exposed so some care is needed, the trail then levels off and widens and we soon arrived in Shibuche (lunch stop where simple accommodation is also available).From Shibuche the route is again steep for a while then levels off a little before reaching the summit of Pangkoma La (3173m) then it’s a fairly short walk down to Pangom where we chose “The Himalayan Trekkers Lodge”, a superb lodge offering all facilities, nice dining room with fire, good food from the first menu we saw on the trek and bucket shower available.
Day 8 of the Arun Valley Trek Boskam Gompa to a little lodge overlooking The Imukhu Khola (Aprox 1850M) was a fairly log days trekking. Starting off with a stiff pull up to the upper Stupa before levelling off a little, stopping at a little hamlet for tea before pushing on up and over Surkie La (3085m). The decent from Surkie La is vertigo inducing on steep stone stairs before levelling out a little before reaching the village of Najingdingma (Late Lunch) and then steeply down again to where the high and impressive suspension bridge crosses the Imukhu Khola. There is one solitary simple lodge just beyond the bridge and this was our overnight accommodation. An Excellent days trekking
Day 7 of the Arun Valley Trek Bung to Boskam Gompa (Aprox 2500M) is only a ½ days trekking, it starts off with a fairly steep pull out of Bung and then slightly more gently but always up to the small hamlet of Boskam Gompa. Just over half way there is a government school, so I stopped off here to give the teachers some pens that I had brought with me to hand out to the poorer students. There is only one lodge at Boskam Gompa but it is fairly new and offers good facilities and it is right next door to The Gompa, so as we arrived at 11.30, we had our lunch and then went to explore the Gompa which was being renovated, there was a chap from Bhutan there painting the Idols, he was very talented and his next commission was in southern India !! Overall an entertaining day !!
Day 6 of the Arun Valley Trek Sanam to Bung starts off with a long steady drop passing through the large village of Guidel before descending more steeply to cross The Hongu Khola (Aprox 1500M) before the short uphill ascent to the large Rai village of Bung (1700M) – We were fortunate to arrive on the day of the weekly market, selling everything from “Fresh” Meat to Chinese made batteries – So an interesting late afternoon as well as a beautiful days trekking
Day 5 of the Arun Valley Trek from Guranse to Sanam (2650M) starts off with the final pull up to Salpa La (3349M) and then steeply down through forest to the tiny village of Whaka (Orkobue) where there is a simple teahouse (Lunch stop) – Then the path undulates before a small pull up to the beautiful village of Sanam – We stayed in the lodge next to the Gompa and then as the lodge keeper holds the Gompa key we managed to visit it !!
Day 4 of the Arun Valley Trek from Salpa Phedi to Guranse (2920M) is just about all uphill, at first on stone steps, then the climb eases off a little as you pass through Jaubari (Lunch stop), you then eventually reach the ridge and the trail undulates through forest to the village of Guranse. There is one basic lodge to the right of the trail well below the main village, then another (Yet unfinished) about 10 minutes walk further and a third older one in the village its self – We opted to stay in the latter.
Day 3 of the Arun Valley Trek from Dobani to Salpa Phedi (1700M) is a short but uphill day mainly following the river. Half way you pass through Tallow Phedi which translates as “Very bottom of the hill” – This is an ideal lunch stop before proceeding on and up to Salpa Phedi which translates as “Bottom of the hill”
Day 2 of the Arun Valley Trek from Marduna to Dobani Starting off with a little uphill over a ridge near Charlissay then dropping down to the banks of the Chikhuwa Khola and following this up to Dobani at 975M
Day 1 of the Arun Valley Trek from Tumlingtar to Marduna, Starting off gently by following the Mighty Arun Khola, then crossing on a long suspension bridge before a steep uphill pull to our nights accommodation in the simple Sagarmatha lodge
Only 100km away from Kathmandu lies the small village of Simbanjyang on the old Tribuvan Raj Path. This was once the only road into Kathmandu, but has since been bypassed and is now the ideal route for a two day, 2.000m downhill mountain bike ride.
This is truly “Mountain Biking for Softies" as the 60k route is almost all downhill.
View from Nakathali view point of Langtang, old Tamang Heritage trail in rashuwa district, trek start from Shyabrubesi, gatlang, tatopani, Nakathali, Thuman, Timure, Bridim and Shyabrubesi, on the langtang resion.